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Old 04-07-2012, 07:21 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by Pantah View Post
Really great RR, but you are not on the Yellow Brick Road! Ha Ha. That is what we called the HCM trail when I was there.

Looking forward to more.
Yeah, I kept wondering what the Yellow Brick Road was; now I know!!
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Old 04-07-2012, 07:23 PM   #32
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Nice photos. What a country!
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Old 04-07-2012, 07:45 PM   #33
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How is the traffic? Are you able to enjoy the ride? Nice looking country and the food looks good too.
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Old 04-07-2012, 07:55 PM   #34
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Old 04-07-2012, 08:30 PM   #35
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How is the traffic? Are you able to enjoy the ride? Nice looking country and the food looks good too.
Traffic in North Vietnam is not bad and the roads are awesome. Traffic in South Vietnam is another story. Roads going into Saigon and in the city are heavily congested. We rode Highway 14 and the road conditions from Pleiku to Dong Xoai really sucked: tons of potholes, tarmac would turn into a gravel or dirt road with a plethora of road construction. From Dong Xoai to Saigon the highway was awesome: 4 lane highway where you could open it up but once you approach Saigon things start slowing down. Looking back, I think we stopped for more pictures in North Vietnam; South Vietnam riding was more stressful and that might be because Mike had a nasty spill with his bike. Overall, the place is amazing!
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Old 04-07-2012, 09:53 PM   #36
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Day 3: Phong Nha Cave

Phong Nha was mapped for the first time only in 1990. Further exploration has revealed that Phong Nha Cave alone is nearly 55 km long, though only the first kilometer is open to visitors.







On our way out


As we were approaching the exit of the cave, the roof of our boat got stuck on overhanging rock due to the rising river tide. All the passengers had to push off the rock to allow our boat to pass. In America someone would probably sue the boat operator for some asinine reason. I love the pragmatism of the Vietnamese.






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Old 04-08-2012, 01:26 AM   #37
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Great report so far looking forward to hearing of your adventures. I've got my 3rd ride in Vietnam booked for this October and can't wait. I hope you have as good a time as we have had in the past.
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Old 04-08-2012, 05:55 AM   #38
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Nice pics, nice commentary....thanks for sharing

Going there someday
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Old 04-08-2012, 07:16 AM   #39
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Enjoying your report

Thanks for the report. Enjoying reading along. Can't wait to see your take on the highlands part of the HCMT, it is among my favorite parts of the country to ride.

I did make it to Khe Sanh last year.... I posted some pics here http://advrider.com/forums/showthrea...=634469&page=2

Keep going, great photos and interesting read.
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Old 04-08-2012, 08:38 AM   #40
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Originally Posted by Cruiserman View Post
Great report so far looking forward to hearing of your adventures. I've got my 3rd ride in Vietnam booked for this October and can't wait. I hope you have as good a time as we have had in the past.
Wow, 3rd ride! I would like to return in 2 years and ride to Dalat, Nha Trang and around the Mekong Delta. I had a wonderful time and Vietnam is an amazing place.
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Old 04-08-2012, 08:44 AM   #41
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Originally Posted by Rogdog View Post
Thanks for the report. Enjoying reading along. Can't wait to see your take on the highlands part of the HCMT, it is among my favorite parts of the country to ride.

I did make it to Khe Sanh last year.... I posted some pics here http://advrider.com/forums/showthrea...=634469&page=2

Keep going, great photos and interesting read.
Read you report and I agree that "riding in rain is misery." We got stuck in a torrential storm on the way to Kien Duc for over an hour. Lightning was crashing around us and the Vietnamese were still riding their scooters.
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Old 04-08-2012, 04:07 PM   #42
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Day 4: Phong Nha to Hue

We left Phong Nha at 6:20 AM and as soon as we got on the bikes, it started raining. After 30 minutes, my pants, underwear and feet were completely soaked. I don’t mind riding in rain but it does get annoying after several hours! My Shift jacket offered decent protection but after 3 hours I was soaked to the bone; I didn’t bring any rain gear thinking, “the sun always shines in Vietnam”.

Our plan was to stop by the Vinh Moc tunnels, DMZ and ride Highway 9 to Khe Sanh but due to the horrible weather we decided to head straight to Hue. At Dong Hoi we jumped on Highway 1A .

Highway 1A is the trans-Vietnam highway running along ‘the spine’ of the country and spreads across 32 provinces. Highway 14 (HCMT) is built for comfort and Highway 1A is built for speed. On Highway 14 we were averaging 80 km/hr and passing through some picturesque villages. On Highway 1A, we were averaging 105 km/hr and passing buses, trucks, mini-van taxi’s, scooters and everything in between with no quaint villages.

We made it to Hue and stopped at a park to look up the hotel info listed in Lonely Planet. This guy shows up out of nowhere telling us about a nice hotel we can stay at. Mike asks if they have a washer and dryer and the guy says yes; we follow him to the hotel, check it out and decide to book a room for $17 US dollars per night.

Dong Loi Hotel in Hue






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Old 04-08-2012, 04:44 PM   #43
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Day 4: Hue


After we check in the hotel and unwind, our ‘fixer’ whose name is Lup, takes us on a tour of Hue. Hue is the capital of Thua Thien Hue province. It served as Vietnam’s political capital from 1802-1945 under the 13 emperors of the Nguyen Dynasty. Traditionally the city has been Vietnam’s cultural, religious and educational centre.

The first place we visit is Tomb of Tu Duc













Emperor Tu Duc designed the tomb, which was constructed between 1864 and 1867. It is said that Tu Duc, who had the longest reign of any Nguyen monarch (1848-83), lived a life of ultimate imperial luxury.

The tomb, enclosed by a wall, is a grey monument and the emperor was never interred here. The site where his remains were buried (along with great treasure) is a mystery because all of the 200 servants who buried the king were beheaded.









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Old 04-08-2012, 08:56 PM   #44
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Day 4: Hue

After Tu Duc, Lup took us to the Royal Fishing Pond. This is were the king would relax and do some fishing.





Next stop was Tomb of Khai Dinh. This hillside monument is a mixture of European and Vietnamese styles. Most of the tomb’s exterior is covered in blackened concrete. Khai Dinh was emperor of Vietnam from 1916-1925 and seen as a puppet of the French.













Khai Dinh's remains are interred 18m below the statue


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Old 04-09-2012, 01:03 AM   #45
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Day 4: Hue

After Khai Dinh we visited the Tomb of Minh Mang who ruled from 1820 to 1840.









Our last stop of the day was Flag Tower, Vietnam’s tallest flagpole.



One of the turning points of the Vietnam War was the Tet (Vietnamese New Year) Offensive. For Tet 1968, Viet Cong forces and small units of the North Vietnamese Army staged coordinated strikes against dozens of supposedly impregnable targets across the South. The battle for Hue was the bloodiest of all.

Before dawn on January 31, NVA artillery began pounding the city, catching its defenders off guard. By daylight the Viet Cong flag was on the citadel’s Flag Tower. The flag was to stay there for 25 days until General Westmoreland ordered US troops to recapture the city. Over the next few weeks, Marines backed by air strikes and navy gunfire, recaptured the city in house-to-house fighting. By the time an American flag was hoisted over the ramparts, half of Hue had been flattened and 10,000 lay dead-mostly civilians. Watching the killing and chaos in Hue beamed into their living rooms, many Americans stopped swallowing the official line.






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